Friday, January 30, 2015

Change is a comin'

This is the most dreaded weekend of the whole year ................... the weekend I must say goodbye to the kids I've come to know and love, welcome new students into my home, drive to the airport upt-teen times and somehow find time to clean and prepare for the new students.
So busy! So sad! So frantic! Yet smiling & happy at the same time.

Lena and I said our goodbyes to Nagisa yesterday. She was such a great kid and I loved having her live with me. She left us with tears and great memories ................. as well as a small box of Japanese goodies and an extremely messy & dirty room! It took 2.5 hr to clean and we hauled out 2 large green garbage bags of junk. OMG! Can you say "Oink"?  

Lena was a huge help; her room does not look like that!  Tonight is our last night together, and it's going to be killer saying goodbye to her. She's like my own! Tonight, she's taking me out to supper. Then it will be a whirlwind of cleaning her small room (piece of cake) plus the rest of the house. Gotta make sure the new students come to a clean new home.

Tomorrow we set off to the airport in what could be a nightmare ride. There's the possibility of freezing rain in the morning which will not just mean awful driving but most probably a mix-up of flight delays. Thankfully, if the weather is bad, I can drive with someone else (and have to run on their much later schedule.) Still, I'll bring my book, drink Starbucks and find a comfy place to hide. It'll be okay.

Then next week, a whole new chapter begins.
And with it is the opportunity for me to focus on some positive changes in my own life. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Storm Day Prep...

Some of you in the U.S. may be right in the middle of this huge snow storm which is headed to Atlantic Canada late tonight and tomorrow. If so, keep safe and warm.  And I hope you were prepared with water, flashlight and radio batteries and food.  

The south shore of Nova Scotia hasn't had a snow storm this winter: while other's in the province have had snow, we've had rain. But this one heading our way is supposed to make up for this oversight with 30-35 cm (12-14 inches) of snow plus blowing.  

Yikes! My students have waited all winter for this --- and it is happening during their exam week of which they have to go to school only one day. Poor deprived internationals!

This storm is on everyone's mind today. So, when I came across all the great "warming" recipes shown on Brenda at "Cosy Little House" this morning, I had to share with you. So many wonderful, inexpensive recipes. Yummy!

This is a busy evening for me -- Lena's 16th birthday is today and we'll be celebrating with her requested fish tacos and marble cheesecake. But when the cake is eaten and the presents opened, I think I'll check my Snow Day emergency list:  

  • Bottled water? ............................ Check
  • Blankets and wooly slippers? ..... Check
  • Flashlight and radio batteries? .... Check
  • Good book? ................................. Check
  • Emergency chocolate? ................  Check (always!)
  • Warming winter soup/stew? ........ (soon-to-be Check)

If we do get a snow day tomorrow and I have food in the slow cooker already prepared, and if the power is NOT off when I wake tomorrow, all I need to do is to re-heat (before a possible power outage, wrap the crock in foil and a a blanket, then store it in the oven. The food will stay warm for quite a number of hours that way. 

And isn't it wonderful to be sitting inside on a stormy day eating something warm and nourishing? That and a good book make a snow day extra fun.

What are your go-to foods for storm days?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Have you seen any dragons lately?

Some days, the best blog posts come from ideas from other blogger's posts.  Such as this one from MA at "On the Bright Side"Apparently, today is "Appreciate A Dragon Day".  

Here are a few that I appreciate.

I've always been a fan of dragons. I can remember watching a somewhat terrible show on television with my children called Dudley the Dragon. Back then, I loved the way Dudley talked; and I would drive the kids crazy talking to them like Dudley. Now-a-days, I can understand why it drove them nuts!

One of my favorite children's books is entitled Sleeping Dragons All Around by Nova Scotia's own Sheree Fitch.  I highly recommend it to anyone with children or grandchildren; it's so entertaining and imaginative. I especially liked the end where everyone ends up in the kitchen eating "mocha maple chocolate cake".

And of course, practically the whole world is in love with Smaug
from The Hobbit. Benedict Cumberbatch's amazing voice just hipnotizes you.

But my very favorite dragon is this one:
The Lesser Spotted Newfoundland Cuddler.
They're on the endangered list, and are normally only seen around late October, hunting for sweets and treats.

Quite a pleasant and almost tame little creature, it takes particular delight in peeled clementines and apple juice.

It's also awfully fond of it's Mommy.

I'm extremely honored to be able to come into close contact with this most magnificant of dragons.

An animal that's easy to love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And what's it like in your neck of the woods?

Do you remember as a kid when you knew just what to expect from a season?  I could always count on being able to wear my new Easter hat to church in spring. Summer would bring days of sunshine with the occasional rainy one. Fall would bring lots of crisp, blustery days that gradually turned colder. And winter would bring snow, snow, snow.  It would snow; chains went on the tires because the snow would stay; and sledding was a daily activity. 

Not so dependable anymore are you, Mother Nature!

After a green, 8 deg Celsius (46 deg F) Christmas Day, winter finally arrived the first week of January with a small snow fall. We fell into a deep freeze almost all last week. Then it warmed up and it rained. We had a covering of snow Sunday night. And it turned cold again.

My morning starts an extra 15 min early to deal with the slow drive down river, watching for black ice on those shady turns. And my afternoon drive home is one where everything stays on in the car -- hat, mittens, scarf -- because I don't feel the heater until I round the corner for my street!

My day today? I'm sitting at work. (Well yeah: I'm skiving off at work!) It was super slippery this morning. But now it's lovely as it's warmed up from -17 Cel (1.5 F) to -8 Cel (17 F). And that means I'll be able to feel heat on my tootsies and remove my hat by the half way mark home. I think they blame it on Global warming.

My way of dealing with it is to just roll with the punches. There's nothing we can do to change it, and I refuse to put the time and energy into complaining about what "IS". 

There are plenty of other things to complain about.  Plus, I do enjoy being able to say "Oh, sorry! I can't drive/attend/assist etc because of the weather". And then I just eat hot soup, bake muffins and generally "shlump" on the couch ....

  • with a good book (currently reading "The Town That Forgot How To Breathe)
  • or with my friend, Mr Television. (I'm enjoying some of the new programming that's started this season.)

Shlumping is a very necessary and beneficial part of my winter health regime!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

One Little Word - PEACE

Reflection ....

Resolutions ....

Positive attitudes ....

Changes .....  

I have found that with aging, I do a lot more reflection. Not because I have the time for it (at least, not yet while I'm still working). But I think that because my abilities are lessened physically, I spend more time exercising my mental abilities. 

And although this can happen --- and indeed should happen --- all throughout the year, the new year the perfect time for people to reflect and make positive changes. Maybe it's because Christmas has been such a time of decadence and over-indulgence? Maybe it's because winter usually means more time spent indoors and that gives us cause to think about how to better fill (or not fill) those hours? Maybe it's because the change to a new date and year just naturally brings thoughts of change in ourselves? Who knows: it just seems to happen on January 1st or thereabouts.

If you know me, you know that I don't do resolutions. I'm constantly fighting battles:  my eating habits; my weight; my health; relationships. I don't need to set myself goals that may never be reached. 
But when I read the post by blogger Sidewalk Shoes called One Little Word , it struck a chord in me. And while reading, I wondered what MY one little word might be for 2015. And the word that came to me was PEACE.

Over the past 6-8 years, I've experienced moments of great peace in times of great difficulty. God has brought me through a lot. And once I tasted peace in the midst of turmoil, I wanted more.  Peace is a word/ a feeling that encompasses so much else: happiness, contentment, satisfaction to name just a few. And through aging & with my Faith, I'm learning that the way to peace most often is an outcome of my own behavior. For example, when I let go of my expectations of others, I find peace. When I forgive (even if I'm not at fault), I find peace. When I accept others for who they are and not what I think they should or could be, I find peace. And when I accept myself for the same or even (dare I say it) do things just for myself and not others, I find peace.

And peace is such a wonderful place to be.

It's a learning process -- always! But yup:  that's my word for 2015. That's what I'm going to try to cultivate more of:


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Penultimate Normalacy

It's the day before my Xmas vacation has to end. The tree came down yesterday, so today is a "normal" day. It snowed in the wee hours; then at about 10 am, the freezing rain started. 

It's a good day to stay put, read a good book and have muffins and tea: Oatmeal Banana-berry (with a sprinkling of chocolate flakes for good measure).

A good day to make Thai peanut soup and serve it up on trays with toasted ciabatta buns as we watch "Jack, the Giant Slayer" on the movie channel.

It's a good day to be tucked inside resting .........

cause it's back to work and school tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goodbye to the old year and in with the new. After a green Christmas in Nova Scotia, there are now fat white flakes falling from the sky, blanketing everything with clean white snow.

And so my wish for you this day is that 2015 is filled with what clean and white represents: the putting aside of old fears, worries, prejudice, hurts and stepping forward into the light of the positive.

I don't make resolutions because #1 there is a large possibility of disappointment in the very near future when they don't work out and #2 my 60 years on this earth have led me to believe that the inside of a person is reflected on the outside.  

So the only new year's resolution I will ever adopt is the following:  

Blessings to you and yours on this bright shiny day!


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